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10 min read

How Does GEMSAS Work? (2023 Graduate Entry Medical School Admissions System)

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What Does GEMSAS Stand For?

The Graduate Entry Medical School Admissions System or the GEMSAS is a centralised online portal where students can submit their medical school applications to enter postgraduate medicine or dentistry programs within Australia.Ā 

GEMSAS Key Functions

GEMSAS is a one-stop source that organises students' applications, calculates their GPA and applies individual medical school eligibility criteria to each medical school preference listed by an applicant.

As a matter of fact, GEMSAS has a list of six available medical school preferences per student. It also applies a complex algorithm to allocate eligible students for a medical interview at their highest preferred medical school. We have explained how this merged-rank works in our GAMSAT Scores article.

Here are some of its key features:

  1. The GEMSAS consortium follows an impartial and transparent allocation process.
  2. Applicants who completed their undergraduate degree from an Australian university that is part of the ARTS receive their results electronically.
  3. GEMSAS uses the GPA achieved from a recent qualifying degree to invite students for a medical interview. However, UWA considers the most recent three years of full-time equivalent study to select students.
  4. GEMSAS universities follow a standardised format to score applicantsā€™ performance in the medical interview and incorporate this score into the selection procedure.
  5. GEMSAS assimilates the GPA, GAMSAT score and performance in the medical interview to allocate medical offers to successful applicants based on their preferenced medical school.
  6. For students who haven't completed their key degree or achieved a good GPA, the GEMSAS informs them and withdraws their conditional offer.

GEMSAS Universities

The GAMSAT Consortium works in conjunction with the GEMSAS. The Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test or the GAMSAT was introduced by ACER, a medical entrance exam used to select students for graduate-entry programs in Australia. Most of the GEMSAS universities consider the GAMSAT score as one of the primary selection criteria to rank applicants for a medical offer.Ā 

Here's a list of universities that fall under the GEMSAS Consortium:

Australian National University

Deakin University

Griffith University

Macquarie University

The University of Melbourne

The University of Notre Dame Australia (Fremantle, Sydney)

The University of Queensland

The University of Western Australia

University of Wollongong

GEMSAS Admissions Guide 2022: How Does GEMSAS Work?

The Graduate-Entry Program is offered in most Australian medical schools and provides a range of opportunities through well-constructed medical courses for graduates to commit to the medical field. All students who wish to enter via the Graduate-Entry Pathway must have completed or should be currently in their final year of bachelor degree to be eligible for postgraduate medicine.

Students that wish to enter one of the GEMSAS universities can apply directly via the GEMSAS online portal. Typically the applications for medicine and dentistry open in early May and close by the end of May. However, the dates are subject to change annually. For instance, to commence medicine in 2023, the applications open on 2nd May 2022 and the closing date is on 31st May 2022.

How Does GEMSAS Calculate GPA?

One of the key functions of GEMSAS is to calculate the GPA and rank each applicant from the highest preferenced medical school to the lowest. GEMSAS uses percentage results to calculate your GPA and may use grades if percentage results are not provided on the transcripts or retrieved through ARTS.

To calculate your GPA, all you need is your recent undergraduate degree transcripts and follow simple instructions laid out by GEMSAS. Although some medical schools use postgraduate studies in GPA calculation, the instructions are the same in both cases. Let us go step-by-step to understand how to calculate your GPA based on your recent degree qualification using the GEMSAS algorithm:

Step 1 - Determine your degree qualification

  1. Three Years Bachelor's DegreeĀ 
  • If you are amongst those applicants who completed a Bachelor's degree in Commerce or Arts that typically runs for 3-years of full-time study, then you will include all the subjects studied during this tenure in the GPA calculations.
  • For instance, suppose your degree is a 3-year BA comprising 360 credit points of completed units, then you must divide your units into three groups of 120 credit points each.Ā 
  1. Longer-duration courses
  • Some degrees such as Law and Engineering extend more than three years of full-time equivalent study. In such cases, you are not allowed to include your first or second years of full-time equivalent study in the GPA calculations.
  • For example, if you completed a 5-year full-time Engineering degree, you cannot include your units undertaken in the first or second years of FTE.
  1. Currently studying in the final year -Ā 

If you are currently in the final year of your qualifying degree, you must include your first semester results in your GPA calculations. This means that you will take only half of the final year results into consideration.Ā 

  1. Part-time study

Suppose you choose to complete your 3-years of Bachelor's degree over 6-years of part-time study, you are still required to roughly divide all your units into three equal groups, based on the order of completion.Ā 

Kindly note that the three-years of full-time equivalent study are known as 'Final-minus-2', 'Final-minus-1', 'Final' years.Ā 

Step 2: Enter the credit points or original grades for each unit.

Once you successfully determine your recent qualifying degree, the next step in the GPA calculation involves grouping the units in chronological order from the three full-time-equivalent study years. Again, remember to add all the units within the three-year FTE, which also includes repeated or failed units.Ā 

Each degree constitutes a certain number of units and credit points offered at the first, second, and final year of the study period. Enter the credit points achieved as per your transcript based on each enrolled unit.

Step 3: We are one final step away from the GPA calculation. The next step in the process is to enter your actual result received in individual units according to official transcripts. If you have both grades and percentages, use the percentage. However, if your transcripts only provide grades, use the conversion table given by GEMSAS to find the GPA per unit.Ā 

Step 4 - You are now in the final stage of your GPA calculation, and as of now, you must have collected the following details: Subject name/code, credit points, results, and your GPA from the conversion table.

Once you have your GPA, you need to multiply your GPA with the credit points achieved.

  1. Add the unit values with the GPA achieved per year - Total (U1 + U2 + U3)
  2. Add the values of GPA * credit points within each GPA year - Total (P1 + P2 + P3)
  3. And finally, if you were to calculate your GPA for the first year of FTE, then the formula goes: Final-minus-2 year = Divide the total number of P values by the total number of U Values. (GPA = P/U)
  4. Follow the same procedure for Final-minus-1 year and Final year and you will have three GPAs (Final-minus-2 year, Final-minus-1 year, Final year)

Kindly make a note that each GEMSAS university differs in its GPA calculation. Therefore, we recommend you to read your preferenced medical school's eligibility criteria.

  • Gemsas weighted GPA = (Final-minus-2 GPA * 1) + (Final-minus-1 GPA * 2) + (Final GPA* 3)/6
  • Unweighted GPA = (Final-minus-2 GPA) + (Final-minus-1 GPA) + (Final GPA)

GAMSAT Score

Besides an applicant's academic achievement, the GEMSAS universities give significant preference to the GAMSAT scores. GAMSAT, as you know, is a medical school entrance exam that tests your ability to articulate essays as in Section 2 and provide logical reasoning in science and humanities, as in Section 3 and Section 1 respectively.Ā 

Every year, the GAMSAT Consortium provides two testing windows for students to sit the exam. For 2022, the first testing window was between 18 - 23 March 2022, and registrations for the GAMSAT September testing period will open during early may 2022.Ā 

Kindly note that the GAMSAT scores are valid for two years only. So, for example, if you sit the September 2021 GAMSAT, the scores are valid to apply for graduate entry into medicine commencing in 2023 and/or 2024 but not 2022.

Academic Transcripts

Suppose you have completed your tertiary education from a university that falls under the Automated Results Transfer System (ARTS); in that case, your results will be gathered and uploaded directly into the GEMSAS portal. This also means you are not required to send a transcript to GEMSAS to have your GPA calculated for selection into your preferenced medical school.

In contrast, if you completed your tertiary education from a university that does not belong to the ARTS domain, you need to generate original transcripts from your previous institutions and ensure that the academic transcripts are sent directly to GEMSAS.

Other Selection Criteria

Although most Australian medical schools consider academic transcripts and the GAMSAT scores to rank applicants for medical interview, the University of Notre Dame Australia and the University of Wollongong demand a portfolio and satisfactory performance in the CASPer test, respectively.Ā 

When Are GEMSAS Interview Offers Released?

The purpose of a medical school interview is to evaluate your qualities that are associated with success during medical school and in subsequent future practice. Based on your GPA, GAMSAT score and eligibility, GEMSAS releases medical interview offers to successful applicants via email. The successful applicant must present the invitation and a valid identity proof upon arrival at the medical school.

GEMSAS universities release the first offer for medical interviews during late September and typically release the final offer in early November. Medical interviews are conducted in-person during December, and successful applicants receive a medical offer from their highest to lowest preferenced university in early January.Ā 

Types Of Medical Places At GEMSAS Universities

Now that we have established how GEMSAS universities work in coalition, it is essential to understand individual universities' fee structure. The allocations for each student will be made based on the following order: CSP, BMP and FEE (where applicable).Ā 

Let us further explore what the CSP, BMP and FEE fee types offer students. The Commonwealth Supported Place or the CSP is a scheme undertaken by the Australian Government to support all domestic students financially. The Government covers a part of the student's tuition fee as a subsidy and not a loan. So if you are a domestic student, you are not required to return the tuition fee and instead must only pay a student contribution amount to the university.

The Bonded Medical Place or BMP is a subsection of the CSP. It is another scheme enforced by the Government to improve the workforce shortage of medical practitioners within rural regions of Australia. Only domestic applicants are eligible for a BMP, which means they must commit to medical practice within rural areas of Australia once they complete their postgraduate medical studies.

To understand more about individual university fee structure, check out our postgraduate medical university application guide. The article also sheds light on your eligibility for a CSP, BMP or FEE tuition fee and explains elaborately the student contribution amount you are required to pay according to the GEMSAS university.

GEMSAS FAQs

  1. Why is GAMSAT so Expensive?

The GAMSAT registration fee for each applicant is $515 in Australia. The fee also includes an online Practice questions e-book. However, the GAMSAT is expensive due to many factors:

  1. The GAMSAT medical entrance exam measures your aptitude to pursue medicine.
  2. The test lasts for 5.5 hours and assesses a wide range of skills, such as your logical reasoning, essay format of writing and scientific approach. Each one of the following components are crucial to perform well at medical school and consistently throughout medical practice.
  3. The GAMSAT is a challenging exam and is designed to display the competitive nature of the medical field.

Therefore, the GAMSAT is fairly expensive and difficult. It would help if you remembered that only strong minds with a commitment towards medicine achieve a good GAMSAT score and persevere through medical practice.

  1. Are Two Bachelorā€™s Degrees Used To Calculate GEMSAS GPA?

Unfortunately, not. Only your most recent qualifying bachelorā€™s degree transcripts will be used to calculate your GPA.

  1. Can I Apply Through GEMSAS As An International Student?

International students cannot process their applications via the GEMSAS and must directly apply to their preferred university. International applicants may sit the MCAT or the GAMSAT for admission into graduate-entry programs in Australia.

  1. What Is The Easiest Medical School To Get Into In Australia?

Getting into medicine is quite challenging, so there is no definite way to answer which university allocates medical offers to students easily. You need to understand that each GEMSAS university has specific entry requirements. While most universities give higher preference to GAMSAT scores, few other universities focus more on your medical interview performance. Ultimately it boils down to which university suits your achievements and supports your interests.